Federal Judge Rebukes AG William Barr For Distorting Mueller Report
In a 23-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said Barr’s efforts to misrepresent the report about alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016 raised serious questions about the Justice Department’s redactions of the publicly released version of the report.
“The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report,” wrote Walton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush.
“The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary,” the judge added.
Walton’s decision came in connection to two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits seeking the report. One suit was filed by BuzzFeed and the other was brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Walton demanded the Justice Department provide him an unredacted version of the report by March 30.
“The Court has grave concerns about the objectivity of the process that preceded the public release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report,” Walton wrote. “A review of the redacted version of the Mueller Report by the Court results in the Court’s concurrence with Special Counsel Mueller’s assessment that Attorney General Barr distorted the findings in the Mueller Report.”
In a scathing rebuke, the judge criticized Barr’s “lack of candor” and questioned his “credibility.”
“These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility and in turn, the Department’s representation that ‘all of the information redacted from the version of the [Mueller] Report released by Attorney General [Barr]’ is protected from disclosure by its claimed FOIA exemptions,” Walton wrote.